Board Chairman of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Moses Kwame Gyasi, has called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to train personnel who could rise to become Headmasters to manage resources in the basic schools.
He explained that while teachers who rose to become Headmasters of the various schools were professional in their fields, most of them did not have managerial skills and knowledge such as in accounting or managing finances, which made them susceptible to mismanage of resources.
Speaking at the launch of a documentary on the theme, “The future at stake! Assessing Corruption Risk in Ghana’s Basic Education”, organised by the GII, Mr Gyasi stressed that mismanagement could lead to leakages in the resources allocated to schools, thus the need for training for these personnel.
According Mr Gyasi the issue of parents having to pay money to headmasters or people having to sleep at the headmaster’s residence to gain admission for their wards into reputable schools in Ghana, indicates a high level of corruption in the education system, which had to be dealt with if the country has to develop.
He maintained that to attain national development, government had to invest more into education, energy and employment.
The documentary was produced under the Transparency and Accountability for Higher Quality Education in West Africa (TAHQEWA) Project, which sought to build transparency and accountability in the education systems of three West African countries – Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger by identifying corruption risks and challenges and applying effective measures to counter them.
Some of the corruption risks identified in basic education that came up in the documentary were teacher absenteeism, mismanagement of resources and lack of professionalism. It was noted, for instance, that some teachers in the Brong Ahafo Region (BA) skipped school to work for the Electoral Commission (EC) during the elections and did not report to school in the first two weeks of re-opening.
Reacting to the issues raised on the teacher absenteeism, Mrs Felicia Boakye-Yiadom, the Director of the Curriculum Research and Development Division (CRDD) of Ghana Education Service (GES), said while teacher absenteeism was still an issue in the education sector, it had reduced immensely in recent years.
She stated that the GES was working to address most of the issues raised in the documentary and pledged the Service’s commitment to addressing them as well as collaborating with stakeholders to improve the sector.
Representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including CCD Ghana, UNESCO, GNECC and others, urged the GES among other recommendations, to decentralise the sector by involving community members in ensuring that resources such as textbooks allocated to schools actually got to them.
They also stressed the need for more data on the sector to ensure transparency and reduce corruption.